(click to enlarge photos)
The Guitar Centre, also known as El Centro de la Guitarra Clásica Española, was situated in Calle Montenegro 10. Just behind the avenue of the Borne and not far from Plaza de la Reina, it was located in one of a number of large old townhouses formerly owned by wealthy families of Palma.
The Centre was on a second floor and consisted of several rooms, one of which was a heavily curtained concert salon where local and visiting guitarists gave evening performances on a small stage.
Near the entrance, a long foyer lined with glass cabinets served as a showcase where Mr. G. displayed guitars made in his Palma factory. Down two stairs off the foyer was a music room where I was to be giving lessons. Inside the music room was a door leading to another room used as living quarters by a pleasant young Englishman named Jeremy, who was a scuba diving instructor. He would tiptoe in and out, sometimes while I was giving a lesson, carrying his air tanks and flippers.
The Guitar Centre was run by Peter Burr, an American and his tall, willowy Catalán wife, Rita, who was in charge of preparing her Gypsy Dinner, a stewed casserole which was offered on certain evenings in the bar area. Peter and Rita lived with their young son within the centre in a large rather cold high-ceilinged apartment.
The centre gave the impression of being part of a medieval castle, dark with aged stone floors and walls and curtained doorways. But in the evening it would fill with a multi-national array of colourful people. Local British and Spanish, visitors on holiday, passing musicians as well as those who were slated to play or sing that evening. There were some performers who played and sang folk music, others who played classical guitar and others such as José Cobos and the gypsy guitarist, Cayetano, who played flamenco.
I would need a guitar, since I had sold my beautiful Juan Estruch classical guitar to help pay for my plane ticket to Spain.
Thank heavens Mr. G. had a guitar factory and was willing to lend me one of his test models. I was waiting for my large box of sheet music and lesson books to arrive from Canada by air freight.
Continue on to Chapter 12......The Guitar Factory
Go back to Chapter 10......The Straw Basket